Speaker: Russell Belk, York University
We could drastically reduce consumption by sharing outside the family in a manner that is similar to the ways we share within the family. I consider why we share our possessions and resources with others and how this tendency is this affected by the Internet. I begin with what sharing is and how it differs from marketplace exchange, gift-giving, and renting. There are multiple models of sharing through the Internet, including some with a profit motive and others without. I will describe how these models differ in terms of how well they work and how they impact feelings of community. I then consider three specific contexts of sharing: housing, transportation, and hospitality, drawing on insights from both Western and Asian contexts. I conclude by suggesting that we may be entering a new era of sharing and community through the electronic commons and assess threats to making this happen as well as ways to facilitate it.